Schools Turn to Fines to Stop Truancy

More municipalities are starting to threaten parents with fines in order to ensure that their children stop playing hooky from school, Swedish Radio News reports. The fines are usually levied when parents consciously keep their children home from school or if they simply don't mind that their children are consistently shirking classes.

Children in Sweden are required to go to school being the ages of seven and sixteen. Municipalities have had the power to fine parents of truant children since the 1980s, but the practice has only recently become more common.

The southern city of Helsingborg, for example, has issued fines of upwards of 1,200 USD on three occasions this past year.

"It sounds like parents are getting punished," Helsingborg school system lawyer Josefin Nilsson told Swedish Radio News. "But that's not what it is; rather, it's the most extreme legal threat used when a municipality resident does not fulfill his or her commitments."

"Our goal is to ensure that children are in our schools," Nilsson finished.

The fines are often empty threats, however; they're meant to scare parents into making sure their children go to school, and are only levied after repeated attempts to stop the truancy through discussions and parent meetings. Only a handful of cases actually lead to fines being issued.

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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